RAFAEL BENITEZ faces a late decision on Islam Slimani’s fitness as Newcastle United wait to learn whether the club’s new striker will face Manchester United on Sunday.

Slimani made the move from Leicester City on deadline day on loan but arrived with a thigh problem.

The injury prevented him from facing Crystal Palace last weekend and now he is being monitored to see if he will figure against Jose Mourinho’s United at St James’ Park.

Benitez said: “We have to see about him, we will see how he feels tomorrow and how fit he is. I am not desperate, I am desperate to see all the players fit to give me problems in terms of options.

“He was part of the training session on Thursday and part of a session today in the gym, so we will see tomorrow what he is like.”

Newcastle are expecting Mohamed Diame and Ciaran Clark to be available after recovering from knocks sustained against Palace.

Benitez also faces a dilemma about whether to hand goalkeeper Martin Dubravka his debut ahead of Karl Darlow, while Kenedy has already made two encouraging appearances following his move from Chelsea.

Benitez said: “We had a good training session. I like competition between keepers, midfielders and strikers, so it’s nice to have the new players. We have three new players and that is good for me.

“I will tell you when I watch them playing how good we can be with them. It’s one thing watching them train and another seeing them play in the Premier League. it is too early to know how much they can give to us.”

And former Liverpool boss Benitez is looking forward to facing Mourinho’s Manchester United on Tyneside again, knowing the visitors will have Alexis Sanchez in their ranks.

The Newcastle manager said: “They were very good before, a bit better now. Top six are buying players and spending a lot of money, it is hard, but they are a good team and have a very good player now as addition.

“I didn’t think of anything about the money they paid for this one or that one, we have own thing to think about. We know where we are and we have to compete with what we have.

“It’s difficult to say what we learned the last time we played them because we did well at the beginning, scored a goal, were organised, then a couple of mistakes and we conceded two goals. That’s what can happen against the top sides. You can soon lose 1-0 or 2-0. You can’t make mistakes or they will take chances.”